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Thread: Collector's Corner, Volume 18; topnotchsy

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    Collector's Corner, Volume 18; topnotchsy

    I'd like to thank Jeff for being this week's participant for the Collector's Corner interview. Without further adieu, enjoy!!!


    1) When did you start collecting ______ and why do you collect ______ ?

    I started collecting as a kid (probably around 10 years old). *I don’t know what initially got me in to collecting other than the fact that I was a big baseball fan, and there was a rush that came from opening packs.

    Why do I collect?

    There’s a number of factors:
    - On a basic level I find it fun and relaxing. After a long day of work, it is fun to surf eBay or auction houses and see what cool items are out there.
    - There’s a challenge in searching for hard-to-find items, and there’s a community that has been created around collecting, especially in places like FCB
    - Collecting ties into my interest in baseball history, and particularly in elements of baseball history that connect to world history. Items I find lead to research and picking up books on interesting areas of baseball history, and my reading leads me to finding new items that I want to collect. One small example, I had no idea that long before he broke in the Majors in 1947 (or played in the Minors in 1946) Jackie Robinson played on integrated teams in high-school and college. I have the signed yearbooks that clearly show this though, and it’s given me a different and more nuanced perspective on integration, and pushed me to learn more and dig deeper
    - Investing/Prospecting – Even though the time spent compared to the return is not huge, I still get a big thrill out of finding cards to buy that go up in value. I don’t prospect minor leaguers, so it’s not about finding someone no one has heard of. *It’s identifying the player who is in front of everyone’s eyes. This season my guy has been Chris Sale who I think is criminally undervalued. Cards have gone up a little and time will tell If I swung and missed

    2) What was the turning point in your collecting ____ ? What put you over the edge and made you completely focus on ______ ?

    The biggest turning point for me was when I shifted from focusing primarily on cards to memorabilia and other collectibles. I still collect and appreciate cards, but I have found a world of items that are fascinating and connect to the history in a way and on a level that I did not find with cards

    Currently I collect a number of different areas:
    - Jackie Robinson/Integration related items – Includes signed baseballs from Jackie’s rookie and minor league season. *Signed high-school yearbooks, a barnstorming ball etc.
    - Negro/Puerto Rican/Mexican League contracts – Somewhat related to the integration items, I find the Negro Leagues a sad but fascinating part of American history (sad that there was reason it existed, but fascinating and incredible in many ways).
    - Lineup Cards – I started out collecting lineup cards of managers who are in the Hall of Fame but expanded to cards of significant games (far more expensive in general) and when they are cheap, I try to get lineup cards from WS winning seasons. *Most interesting one I have is probably from George Brett’s 3,000th hit. *Also have Tom Glavine’s first win, Frank Thomas’s 500th homerun, Andrew McCutchen’s 1st homerun and a few WS lineup cards including 1999 Yankees.
    - WWII-related baseball items – Again, history meets baseball. *Key item I have is the last ball used in the 1945 Army-Navy All-Star Game. *At that point most of the big names were in the military (albeit in roles that didn’t include fighting outside of a few like Bob Feller and Hank Greenberg). *The Army-Navy All-Star game(s) was a 7 game series. *
    - Rookie Autos – I’ve bought and sold rookie autograph cards for a really long time (long before the collections listed above) and still try to find a few guys a year to “invest” in

    3) What has been the high point in collecting ______ ? The low point ?

    Couple of high-points, though I’d probably come up with others if I gave it more time.

    - Picking up my favorite item in my collection - a Negro League baseball signed by the 1953 Jackie Robinson All-Stars Barnstorming Team. There’s a very small number of Jackie Robinson signed Negro League items. I knew it was special when I won it, but I think my appreciation has grown since.
    - Another high point was finding a lineup card from Frank Thomas’s 500th homerun lineup card in a large lot of lineup cards I purchased. There are no obvious identifiers on lineup cards to indicate that the game was significant so some sleuthing was needed.

    Low point has definitely dealing with a couple of scams. Thankfully in the card world I was never out any real money (once happened with a different kind of collectible) but a couple of issues took months to resolve and get my money back.

    4) What deal did you have slip through the cracks, that you regret ? Why didn't it work out ?

    Was bidding on a jersey that was supposed to be from Ted Williams while he was in the Navy on an obscure website. My high bid was the exact winning bid (around $3200), but I got a message from the company that their rule is that a live bidder takes precedence over an online bid (even if placed before) and so I did not win it. Item later was resold for something like $30K

    5) What's your favorite piece / card in your collection ? Why ?

    As mentioned above, my favorite item is my Negro League baseball signed by the 1953 Jackie Robinson All-Stars Barnstorming team. *The team was one of the first integrated barnstorming teams and includes Jackie, Gil Hodges, Ralph Branca, Maury Wills (long before he made the Majors) and a number of others including some Negro League players, and legendary Negro League midget entertainer Spec Bebop. *

    Some other items I really appreciate are:

    - 1929 Negro League Contract of Dick “Cannonball” Redding. *Many consider him the biggest omission from the Hall of Fame. *He was illiterate and this is his only known signature in existence
    -1946 Nashua Dodgers team signed picture – The same season Jackie Robinson entered the Minors, Roy Campanella and Don Newcombe were playing in Nashua. *Team signed picture with all of them
    - 1945 Army-Navy All-Star Game Used last pitch baseball signed by Stan Musial and others on the team
    - A number of lineup cards – 1933 card signed by manager Walter Johnson, 1956 Dodgers lineup card with Jackie, Campanella and other greats, 1963 Dodgers lineup card. *Koufax was on the mound. *That year they won the World Series and Koufax was Cy Young and MVP.

    6) What's your wife / significant other / family think of your obsession (or collecting) for ______ ?

    Not in a relationship right now. *Growing up my family was ok with it because I mostly did prospecting and would make money on cards. *My Mom used to drive me to shows was I was 10-15.

    7) What's your white whale or just a card you can't seemingly track down or acquire ?

    Baseball signed by Jackie Robinson from his Negro League days

    Item tied to the 1935 Bismarck Churchills – One of the absolute earliest integrated teams. *Satchell Paige was pitching for them at this time

    Lineup card with Babe Ruth or Lou Gehrig in it

    Lineup card from many hard to find Hall of Fame managers. *Most may be impossible but Connie Mack and Casey Stengel on the Yankees should be findable. *It’s been a few years with no luck though EDIT: Since submitting this, I was able to pick up a Mack lineup card with an assist to @mchenrycards so has now twice noticed lineup cards that were available and alerted me. Thanks!

    8) Have you met the player you collect and what was the experience like ? (For set collectors, it'd be asking about meeting other set collector's of said set and having discussions with them).

    I met a Negro League historian at one point which was really cool. **Was able to show him pictures of the Negro League ball I have and he was really impressed by it, which was awesome.

    9) What is your biggest pet peeve about collecting ______ ?

    Probably the approach of the card companies, which doesn’t take long term value into consideration. *I have an MBA, so I tend to view things from a business perspective and I think the companies are setting themselves up for failure in the long run.

    10) How have forums / eBay / COMC helped your collecting of _____ ? How have they hurt ?

    I pretty much grew up collecting-wise in the eBay era (I’ve been on eBay since 2000) so it’s largely what I know. *The message boards are probably one of the reasons I still collect as I’ve learned a ton from the boards and it provides a community around the hobby.

    I’ve recently joined some Facebook groups and I am frightened by how many people are clearly and obviously addicted to opening packs and collecting, and how much misinformation there is. *I worry that a lot of people are getting hurt by the hobby.

    11) How much competition do you face in your collecting of _____ ? How often do you check forums / auction sites for your player ?

    Integration Items – My focus is a little off the beaten path so competition varies based on the item. *For example, my Negro League signed Jackie Robinson ball cost far less than a single signed Jackie ball. *For me, the ball I have is far more interesting and desirable. *On the other hand, 1947 Dodgers team signed baseball (Jackie RC season) is definitely a pretty popular items

    Contracts – Right now these are cheaper than they use to be, though definitely competition on these

    WWII-related items – Somewhat obscure but there’s a specific market that focuses on this

    Lineup cards – Other than for key games, there’s not a ton of competition on these. *For HOF managers, the lineup card often costs no more than the cost of the manager’s signature on any other surface

    RC Auto’s – I try to find guys who are undervalued but it’s definitely more “mainstream”

    12) Any thoughts of ever giving up the collection ?

    I’ve sold out in the past when I was only collecting cards, and on some level, I can only justify the cost of my collection because I know there’s a way to recoup the funds if needed. *That said, with the shift in my collection to memorabilia, I definitely enjoy the items more (although I am starting to find that I enjoy specific items more than others.

    To me, as long as I don’t need the money and the collection brings me joy, I see no reason to move it. *But if that ever changes I hope I’ll be smart enough to give it up.

    13) How has the generosity of FCB'ers or other forum / site members helped your collection ? Elaborate

    I have learned a ton from members on the boards, and people have been involved in some charity fundraising efforts I’ve done in the past. Members have also pointed out items they came across that they think will fit in my collection, which I really appreciate.

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    Last edited by Topnotchsy; 09-17-2018 at 11:15 PM.


    The BEST Josh Johnson collection you'll ever see

    JJ count: Total Cards: 2,443 Autographs = 886, 1/1's = 125, Patches = 228, Jerseys = 209, Buttons = 2 and MLB Logoman = 1

    Also collecting: Dennis Northcutt, Titus Young, Bilal Powell, Josh McCown, T.J. Graham, Gino Guidugli, A.J. Vanegas, Tony Zych, Philip Pfeiffer & Mike Sims-Walker.

    Trade list linkage

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    Member banjar's Avatar
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    Wow you have some good stuff in that collection. Even though I'm a card guy, to me memorabilia definitely brings a much more tangible connection to the history of baseball than even game-used cards do. A scrap of a ball stuck or a cut auto stuck inside a card loses quite a bit compared to the original thing.
    Collecting Roberto Alomar. Over 4000 unique cards, but always looking for those I'm missing!

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    Senior Member dano7's Avatar
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    Great items! Admire your collecting focus, especially on the Negro League items and the line up cards.
    I've met Larry LaGrande, because he lives here in Roanoke. I had him come to an elementary school where I was assigned to speak a couple of times, about 10 years ago!
    Collector of Autographs, TTM autographs, Vintage, Yankees and Mantle
    Sets completed 1955-1965, 1967, 1969, 1951 Topps Red & Blue Back, 1951 Bowman, 1955 Bowman, 1963 Fleer, 1965 Topps Embossed, 1961 Topps Stamps, 1962 Topps Stamps & 1968 Topps Game.
    Yankee needs:Two 1962 Topps stamp pairs. Need T209 Contentnea Roanoke players.dano 7 by Danny Secrist, on Flickr

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    Senior Member joey12508's Avatar
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    Very cool this thread is back, unbelieveable collection topnotchsy, one of the best i have seen on FCB

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    Collector's Corner, Volume 18; topnotchsy

    Admire and love the history behind your collection for sure. Simply amazing stuff


    Sent from my iPhone using Freedom Card Board
    SCREW PHOTOBUCKET
    Jeff Cirillo Spread Sheet ||
    Hall of Unending Gratitude: dazed, magicpapa, uniquebaseballcards, and the vigilant eye of tonsofcommons

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    Thanks to @AmishDave for bringing this concept back and for featuring my collection. Was really fun to write up the answers to the questions. Some of them definitely got me thinking. It occurred to me that I think there may have been collectors who helped me in the past that I forgot to mention. @cgilmo definitely helped me avoid losing quite a bit on a scam at one point, which was and is really appreciated!


    Quote Originally Posted by banjar View Post
    Wow you have some good stuff in that collection. Even though I'm a card guy, to me memorabilia definitely brings a much more tangible connection to the history of baseball than even game-used cards do. A scrap of a ball stuck or a cut auto stuck inside a card loses quite a bit compared to the original thing.
    Thanks! I don't think I'd ever fully move away from cards, but I do find that some of the other items bring me closer to the game. Each area of my collection leads me to researching more of the history of the game, particularly areas (integration and WWII) which I think are important to be remembered. And lineup cards bring out the magic of any individual random game.



    Quote Originally Posted by dano7 View Post
    Great items! Admire your collecting focus, especially on the Negro League items and the line up cards.
    I've met Larry LaGrande, because he lives here in Roanoke. I had him come to an elementary school where I was assigned to speak a couple of times, about 10 years ago!
    Awesome that you met him and he came in to speak. I think it is crucial to preserve that part of history.

    And I really appreciate the sentiments!



    Quote Originally Posted by Brewer Andy View Post
    Admire and love the history behind your collection for sure. Simply amazing stuff
    For me if the collecting doesn't lead me to researching more and reading more, and reading does not expand the collection, I'm doing something wrong!


    Quote Originally Posted by joey12508 View Post
    Very cool this thread is back, unbelieveable collection topnotchsy, one of the best i have seen on FCB
    I appreciate that! I've been blessed to be able to acquire some of the items I the most interesting and intriguing.



    To everyone else who took the time to read about my collection, I hope you enjoyed and thank you.

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    Sy I enjoy drooling over your collection.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Topnotchsy View Post

    For me if the collecting doesn't lead me to researching more and reading more, and reading does not expand the collection, I'm doing something wrong!
    As a middle school reading teacher, and then a baseball card and hobby enthusiast, this literally is one of my favorite and most meaningful quotes around! Great read, great collection, and awesome sentiment!
    & Thanks to @AmishDave for another great write up!

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    Awesome, awesome stuff


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    Such an interesting read about an amazing and unique collection - appreciate your time and sharing. The personal connection between you/your collection to baseball history is very cool.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cgilmo View Post
    Sy I enjoy drooling over your collection.

    Sent from my iPad using Freedom Card Board mobile app
    Thanks Chris! Maybe one day I'll actually explain why my user name is Topnotchsy while my name is Jeff

    Quote Originally Posted by Gwynn545 View Post
    As a middle school reading teacher, and then a baseball card and hobby enthusiast, this literally is one of my favorite and most meaningful quotes around! Great read, great collection, and awesome sentiment!
    & Thanks to @AmishDave for another great write up!
    I really appreciate that. I used to be a teacher myself, and that means a lot.

    Quote Originally Posted by MrMet View Post
    Awesome, awesome stuff

    Sent from my iPhone using Freedom Card Board
    Thanks!



    Quote Originally Posted by tidel144 View Post
    Such an interesting read about an amazing and unique collection - appreciate your time and sharing. The personal connection between you/your collection to baseball history is very cool.
    I appreciate that. It took a long time before settling on these areas of collecting, and I dabbled in a whole range of others over the years.

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    Junior Member Mark70Z's Avatar
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    Such an interesting read and collection focus. Id really like to pick up a few lineup cards in the future. I dont know a whole lot about them, but would make for an interesting display. When it comes to old school lineups can I assume the original would be worth far more than the copy?

    Love the team autographed ball with Jackie included.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark70Z View Post
    Such an interesting read and collection focus. I’d really like to pick up a few lineup cards in the future. I don’t know a whole lot about them, but would make for an interesting display. When it comes to old school lineups can I assume the original would be worth far more than the copy?

    Love the team autographed ball with Jackie included.
    Thanks!

    When you say "copy" do you mean a carbon copy or a reproduction?

    Because there are 3 copies of the lineup card made (one for each team and one given to the ump) since back in the 50's, at least some teams opted to use carbon copy so that they could write up the lineup once and have 3 copies. While there is definitely a discrepancy in price, the scarcity of any lineup card from a specific important game makes all the versions very valuable. For more ordinary games there is definitely a difference.

    More recently, teams/companies have been producing reproductions of lineup cards of major games. From what I have seen these are always the dugout wall lineup cards, which they will have framed nicely, possibly with some other components (such as a plaque). These are nice pieces to hang on the wall, but don't have any value as a collectible.

    Hope that helps.

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    Junior Member Mark70Z's Avatar
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    Lineup Cards

    Quote Originally Posted by Topnotchsy View Post
    Thanks!

    When you say "copy" do you mean a carbon copy or a reproduction?

    Because there are 3 copies of the lineup card made (one for each team and one given to the ump) since back in the 50's, at least some teams opted to use carbon copy so that they could write up the lineup once and have 3 copies. While there is definitely a discrepancy in price, the scarcity of any lineup card from a specific important game makes all the versions very valuable. For more ordinary games there is definitely a difference.

    More recently, teams/companies have been producing reproductions of lineup cards of major games. From what I have seen these are always the dugout wall lineup cards, which they will have framed nicely, possibly with some other components (such as a plaque). These are nice pieces to hang on the wall, but don't have any value as a collectible.

    Hope that helps.
    When I stated copy I did mean carbon copies. I didnt even know they were making reproduction scorecards.

    I know there are several managers whose autographs are collectible as well so I thought the original form (top piece) would be the most valuable.

    It would be nice to one day to have a lineup of the Os in their heyday.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark70Z View Post
    When I stated “copy” I did mean carbon copies. I didn’t even know they were making reproduction scorecards.

    I know there are several managers whose autographs are collectible as well so I thought the original form (top piece) would be the most valuable.

    It would be nice to one day to have a lineup of the O’s in their heyday.
    Yup for ones where the autograph matters, that would be more of a big deal (though when I asked on Net54 about the carbon copies, some were inclined to view them as autographs.

    If you are interested in an Orioles lineup card, feel free to pm me. I have a few vintage ones (albeit mostly carbon copies).

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